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Woody: Fancy pants Fido

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By LARRY WOODY

It's one of those things most of us don't give much thought to until we suddenly snap awake one night and ask ourselves:

What's the proper way for a dog to wear pants?

There was extensive coverage of the issue awhile back on TV, when shoppers were checking out the latest doggie duds at a fancy New York boutique.

One patron believed a dog's pants should fit around the pooch's waist and cover its hind legs -- the way Frank Sinatra, for example, usually wore his pants.

But someone else raised an interesting point: A dog, unlike Frank Sinatra, has FOUR legs. So wouldn't it be logical for the mutt to wear pants with FOUR legs?

The problem, of course, is logistics. How can you get a dog into pants with four legs?

The belt would have to come all around the pooch's body, from chin to stern. And even with a snug belt, the pants would probably sag. (Archie Bunker, you might recall, had the same problem.)

I suppose one solution would be suspenders, fore and aft.

But dressing a pooch in four-legged pants could be a challenge. Have you ever tried to dress a squirming two-legged toddler? Imagine trying to get a snarling Doberman into four pant-legs.

I question the concept of doggie pants in general. What happens if a pants-wearing dog suddenly comes upon a fire hydrant? It might not have time for fiddling with a lot of buttons and zippers.

Another thought: if dog is wearing pants over his tail, how can you tell if he's happy?

Then there's the delicate matter of social greetings. When a strange dog wanders into a new neighborhood, the other dogs don't run up and shake hands, if you get my drift. Some serious sniffing is involved. If the new dog is wearing pants, how can he be properly introduced?

(On the other hand, a snug pair of pants could be the solution to every dog's dreaded Cold-Nose Syndrome.)

The TV fashion report showed dogs modeling both two- and four-legged pants. None of the mutt-models seemed particularly thrilled by either style. I got the feeling they'd much prefer to be romping around naked and chasing Frisbees, like hippies in a city park.

I've never been in favor of dressing animals in human clothing. They were born with a fur coat; that should be sufficient. If sled dogs who spend frigid winters outdoors in the sleet and snow don't need to wear a sweater, why does a pampered poodle who prances around Central Park?

The only reason to put clothes on a pooch is because the owner thinks its "cute." The dog doesn't get a vote about being used as a fashion accessory.

My old black Lab Buddy and I had an understanding: he wouldn't wear a sweater and I wouldn't drink out of the toilet.

Buddy was a happy dog -- I know, because he wagged his un-panted tail -- and when he went out to play in the snow he didn't seem to mind the cold. The only time I saw him shiver was with excitement at chow time.

Buddy was no fashion model, just a good 'ol dog who happily romped through life in his birthday suit.

My dog and I got along great, because we knew who wore the pants in the family.

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Larry Woody
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